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NFL power rankings: Are the Bengals a bottom-5 team?

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ESPN seems to think the Bengals are among the NFL’s worst teams heading into the offseason.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is here, and the Cincinnati Bengals have a lot of work to do before the 2018 season begins.

Thankfully, they have seven full months to become a better team before next season begins. That’s the good news.

The bad news is, without a doubt, this is not a good team at the moment, and it’s probably one that’s got a lot of work to do before becoming a true playoff contender.

At least, that’s what ESPN seems to think. In their offseason power rankings, the Bengals came in as a bottom-five team.

28. Cincinnati Bengals

2017 record: 7-9

The Bengals spoiled the playoff hopes of the Lions and Ravens in the last two weeks of the 2017 season. They also brought back head coach Marvin Lewis, which could spoil their own in 2018. Lewis has seven postseason appearances over 15 seasons in Cincinnati, including five straight from 2011 to 2015, but he’s 0-7 in those games.

The only teams worse than the Bengals are the Browns, Jets, Giants and Bears. That’s probably a little harsh for a Cincinnati team that did finish 7-9 and could have had 2-3 more wins.

The Bengals were in great position to win games against the Packers, Titans and Steelers before losing in the final minutes in all three games, so we could easily be talking about an eight or nine-win team going into the offseason with much of its roster under contract.

Still, anyone who watched this team knows it’s a major work in progress, and they’ve got a lot of work to do over the next seven months to become a legitimate playoff contender.

What do you think of the Bengals’ ranking?